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A man, once young, who lived retired
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finish'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruse, replaced his book
Within its customary nook, : ,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Ifaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at evening-tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees that fringed his hill
Shades Nanting at the close of day
Chill'd more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still funny fide,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial firs!
Learns something from whate’er occurs
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits. .
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,. .. .
Imagination to his view":
Presents it deck'd with ev'ry hue ,'.
That can feduce him not to spare
His pow'ss of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour, to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long, approach life's evening shades,
The glow that fancy gave it fades ;
And, earn’d too late, it wants the grace
Which first engag'd him in the chase.
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side-
But whether all the time it cost,
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that which call'd his ardour forth...
Trifles pursu'd, wháte’er th’ event,
Must caufe him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there, he wins a curse; . '
But he, whom ev'n in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage, nic i
Is paid, at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well design'd;
And if, ere he attain his end, . .
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date:
Either too early or too late,
The green-house is my summer seat;
My shrubs displac'd from that retreat
Enjoy’d the open air; is
Two goldfinches, whofe sprightly song
Had been their mutual solace long,.
Liv'd happy pris’ners there...
They sang, as blithe as finches sing
That Autter loose on golden wing, .
And frolic where they lift;
Strangers to liberty, 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And, therefore, never miss’d.
But nature works in ev'ry breast;
Instinct is never quite suppress’d;
And Dick felt fome desires,
Which, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain :
A pass between his wires.
The open windows seem'd to invite
The freeman to a farewell Aight;
But Tom was still confin'd;
And Dick, although his way was clear,
Was much too gen'rous and sincere
To leave his friend behind.
For, settling on his grated roof;
He chirp'd and kiss’d him, giving proof
That he desir’d no more; Nor would forsake his cage at last, 'Till gently seiz’d, I shut him fast,
A pris’ner as before.
Oh ye, who never knew the joys
Of Friendship, fatisfied with noise,
Fandango, ball and rout!